Gary D. Kao, M.D., Ph.D.

faculty photo
Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology
Department: Radiation Oncology
Graduate Group Affiliations

Contact information
Department of Radiation Oncology
Smilow Center for Translational Research, Room 8-134
3400 Civic Center Blvd.
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Office: 215-573-2285
BA (Philosophy)
Johns Hopkins University , 1984.
M.D. (Medicine)
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, 1988.
PhD (Molecular Biology)
University of Pennsylvania, 1998.
Permanent link
> Perelman School of Medicine   > Faculty   > Details

Description of Research Expertise

The overall goal of the Kao Laboratory is to understand aspects of cancer and normal tissue biology that will ultimately allow us develop and refine anticancer treatment. Our current project involves the development of novel assays for circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and circulating tumor material (CTM) to serve as "liquid biopsies" to enable serial interrogation of the biology of the primary and metastatic tumor, all at no risk to the patient.
We have also attacked this goal via interrelated approaches that have included: (i) novel assays to study the integrity of the blood:brain:barrier (BBB) as a determinant of malignant brain tumor treatment success (ii) investigating the biology of histone deacetylases in cancer and normal tissues, its role in development and cellular growth, and in the response to histone deacetylase inhibitors and other treatment modifiers, and (iii) developing novel vertebrate-based systems to investigate the relative effects of treatment on cancer cell viability as well as normal tissue development and function. We believe the understanding resulting from these investigations will enable us to optimize the "therapeutic ratio" --developing more effective yet less toxic treatment strategies

Description of Clinical Expertise

Radiation Oncology

Selected Publications

Chinniah C, Aguarin L, Cheng P.... Kao GD. : Early detection of recurrence in patients with locally advanced non–small-cell lung cancer via circulating tumor cell analysis. Clinical Lung Cancer July 2019.

Seranio N, Malkowicz SB, Aguarin L, Dorsey JF, Christodouleas J, Kao GD. : Predicting bladder cancer responses to PD-L1 inhibitors? A case report and overview for the busy clinician. Journal of Translational Science (JTS) 5: 1-5, Feb 2019.

Liu T, Xu H, Huang M, Ma W, Saxena D, Lustig RA, Alonso-Basanta M, Zhang Z, O'Rourke DM, Zhang L, Gong Y, Kao GD, Dorsey JF, Fan Y. : Circulating Glioma Cells Exhibit Stem Cell-like Properties. Cancer Res. 78(23): 6632-6642. Dec 2018.

Frick MA, Kao GD, et al. : Circulating tumor cells assessment in presumed early stage non-small cell lung cancer patients treated with stereotactic body radiation therapy: a prospective pilot study. International J of Radiation Oncology, Biology Physics. 102: 536-542, Sept 2018.

Yanling Wang, Haineng Xu, Tianrun Liu, Menggui Huang, Param-Puneet Butter, Chunsheng Li, Lin Zhang, Gary D. Kao, Yanqing Gong, Amit Maity, Constantinos Koumenis, and Yi Fan: Temporal DNA-PK activation drives genomic instability and therapy resistance in glioma stem cells. JCI Insight 3(3), Feb 8 2018.

Xu MJ, Dorsey JF, Amaravadi R, Karakousis G, Simone CB 2nd, Xu X, Xu W, Carpenter EL, Schuchter L, Kao GD: Circulating Tumor Cells, DNA, and mRNA: Potential for Clinical Utility in Patients With Melanoma. Oncologist. 21(1): 84-94, Jan 2016.

Xu MJ, Cooke M, Steinmetz D, Karakousis G, Saxena D, Bartlett E, Xu X, Hahn SM, Dorsey JF, Kao GD: A novel approach for the detection and genetic analysis of live melanoma circulating tumor cells. PLoS One 10(3): e0123376, Mar 25 2015.

McQuade C1, Al Zaki A, Desai Y, Vido M, Sakhuja T, Cheng Z, Hickey RJ, Joh D, Park SJ, Kao G, Dorsey JF, Tsourkas A.: A Multifunctional Nanoplatform for Imaging, Radiotherapy, and the Prediction of Therapeutic Response. Small. 11(7): 834-43, Feb 18 2015.

Dorsey JF, Kao GD, MacArthur KM, Ju M, Steinmetz D, Wileyto EP, Simone CB 2nd, Hahn SM. : Tracking viable circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in the peripheral blood of non-small cell lung cancer patients undergoing definitive radiation therapy: Pilot study results. Cancer. 121(1): 139-49, Jan 1 2015.

Ju M, Kao GD, Steinmetz D, Chandrasekaran S, Keefe SM, Guzzo TJ, Christodouleas JP, Hahn SM, Dorsey JF.: Application of a telomerase-based circulating tumor cell (CTC) assay in bladder cancer patients receiving postoperative radiation therapy: A case study. Cancer Biol Ther. 15(6): 683-7, Jun 2014.

back to top
Last updated: 06/30/2019
The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania